Estimates claim album sales see the worst week since mid-1960s amid COVID-19 pandemic
Live events are not the only corner of the music industry that is facing blowback from the recent economic downturns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Billboard Music analyzed Nielsen Music/MRC Data and found that in the week ending on March 19, overall album sales fell 29 percent to 1.52 million. That number combines sales of all formats of albums: digital albums, CDs, vinyl LPs, and cassettes. 1.52 million is the lowest number of albums sold in a week since the firm began tracking music sales in 1991.
Billboard went on to estimate that 1.52 million is perhaps the smallest sum for total weekly album sales since albums became a popular format in the mid-1960s. Music streaming has also declined, particularly in countries that have been most impacted by the pandemic, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Italy.
The decline in album sales can almost certainly be partially attributed to the closure of record shops and other retailers across the country. Meanwhile, Amazon has stopped restocking its inventory of music media and merchandise in order to focus on home essentials and medical supplies. These changes in addition to the surprising drop in music streaming continue what will likely be a temporary downward trend.